13. Disaster Management
As COVID-19 conditions persist, the chances are high that populations around the US and the world will experience heat waves, floods, hurricanes, fire, and drought during the period of virus transmission and into the period of recovery (e.g., Phillips et al., 2020). Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in areas vulnerable to natural hazards and disasters are particularly noteworthy in the context of COVID-19. The complex events that arise from the intersection of continuing pandemic conditions with existing stressors (e.g., financial constraints) and acute shocks (e.g., natural disasters) present difficult decision landscapes to SME owners and managers.
This paper presents initial results from a survey recently deployed documenting SME responses to and recovery from COVID-19 in an environment defined by concurrent risks, including climate and weather events. This project documents: 1. the novel resilience-based mitigation actions employed during the COVID-19 pandemic by SMEs by sector, 2. challenges in implementing resilience-based mitigation actions, 3. utilization of past strategies and approaches to provide assistance to the current situation, and 4. planned resilience actions and strategies. Additionally, differences across SME type by sector and ownership are explored. In doing so this presentation highlights the importance of social science in understanding complex, cascading and compound events, and pathways toward improved planning. It also highlights the use of different adaptation/coping strategies that SMEs have implemented to minimize or avoid business interruption.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE: business resilience, complex event